cover image Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul: How to Change the World in Quiet Ways

Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul: How to Change the World in Quiet Ways

Dorcas Cheng-Tozun. Broadleaf, $26.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-506-48343-6

Cheng-Tozun (Start, Love, Repeat), editorial director at Christian nonprofit PAX, offers valuable guidance for those who want to fight for social justice without standing at the front of a rally with a bullhorn. Sensitive, introverted people have unique gifts, such as “empathy, perception... and an innate ability to bond with others,” the author explains, but are prone to burnout in the activist world of “protests and pushback, debates, and callouts.” For that reason, before volunteering or working at a social justice organization, sensitive people should consider its environment, in terms of both its culture and its physical space (obtrusive lights and sounds can become overwhelming); seek out “supportive, meaningful relationships” in social justice communities; and avoid working for causes that might induce “empathy fatigue” in the long run. Cheng-Tozun outlines roles sensitive people often thrive in: their attention to detail makes them ideal record-keepers (for example, archivists or historians), and their thoughtfulness is especially useful in disciplines such as engineering, where empathy “is at the very heart of creating products and technologies that address major social inequities.” Herself a sensitive person who built a meaningful social justice career—encountering more than a few episodes of burnout along the way—the author draws usefully on her own experiences to deliver an encouraging message that reframes sensitivity as an asset, not a liability. This practical, energizing entry will prove a handy resource for the withdrawn. (June)